ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Saturday challenged before the Supreme Court the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Aug 7 order of transferring two corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar to accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik.
The petition pleaded the apex court to set aside the IHC’s order and allow accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir to continue hearing the corruption references.
Both Mr Sharif and judge Bashir are respondents in the petition.
In one of the corruption references against the Sharifs concerning London’s Avenfield apartments, judge Bashir had awarded 10-year jail term to Mr Sharif, seven to Ms Maryam and one year to Mr Safdar.
SC urged to allow same judge to hear Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references who ruled in Avenfield reference
Now accountability court judge Malik is hearing the other two references, namely Al-Azizia/Hill Metal and Flagship Investment references, against the Sharifs.
The NAB chairman’s petition argued against the IHC’s decision, claiming that no actual and specific bias or prejudice was highlighted against judge Bashir.
The petition pleaded that none of the reasons spelled out in the IHC’s short order were germane to the case laws at hand on the subject of the transfer of cases. In fact, the petition insisted, they were not akin to the grounds and causes of such action.
The NAB petition highlighted that the references against the Sharifs were filed before the accountability court number 1 of judge Bashir in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court on the recommendations of the joint investigation team, formed by the apex court to investigate the Panama Papers case.
The commonality of grounds in all the references had never been visualised by the high court for the transfer of these cases, the petition argued, adding the perceived action and the condition of mind attributed to the accountability court number 1 judge were also not visualised by the law relating to the transfer of cases from one court to another.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018